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Posts Tagged ‘growing in Christlikeness’

Day Forty-Nine

 What will you foster? Character or Understanding

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mt 6:33 (ESV)

Are you someone who believes the events of life are there to teach you something– to increase your understanding so that you are ever becoming more skilled in navigating life?  I would suggest to you quite the opposite – I believe events are actually to build your character in Christ, not your natural understanding, and that this is a much more profitable course.

Look for a moment at those who are skeptics before God.  They think: “I will believe when I see.”  Or, “I will obey when I understand.”  Like Job they desire an audience with God so He can receive their perspective on things.  They want to weigh in on the events and their impact, thinking that God really needs their input.  Yet more than understanding, God desires obedience; more than understanding, He desires trust.  The shaping and renovation taking place in any life is not something we can oversee.  We do not have the right perspective or wisdom for it.  We are quite literally – clueless!

We must come to the place of trusting God – and committing this process to Him, even when we don’t understand what is happening.  He is able to keep all that is committed to Him! Like going to a dentist and trusting his skill – we don’t give him instruction, we don’t review his work plan or tell him how long he can drill – rather we sit in the chair quietly, sometimes white-knuckled, counting the time waiting for the work to end.  God is infinitely more trust-worthy than any dentist, more skilled than any practitioner – so why do we take this consumer approach with God?

Simply, we don’t have the big picture – yet we want control.  Like an airplane pilot who (given no visibility) should fly IFR but doesn’t  – we trust our instincts and skills more than the IFR readings.  We believe we know our orientation.  We have more confidence in our abilities than in His.  Because of this confidence in ourselves, we approach life events believing if we only learn enough we will succeed.  If life is really only about learning more — we can do that and navigate it more successfully.  We can do it our way.

But life does not exist simply as an experiment to provide useful teaching.  It exists to help us see that we need God in our lives. It clarifies over and over our need to be dependent on Him, and to be more like Him.  The Lord fashions life and its events so that we will grow in Christlikeness.  Growing in Christlikeness will get us farther and higher than any amount of personal understanding.   His ways are higher than ours, and His thoughts are too, but only by coming into greater Christlikeness can we even approach knowing His ways, and sometimes understanding them.

But there is no shortcut to this process, no way to jump ahead with a workaround.  Our character must be expanded in Christ, our mind renewed by the Word, and our trust in the Lord made unshakable.  Then we can begin to have His perspective and process what is really going on. It is when we fully seek His Kingdom (His rule in our hearts and minds) and His righteousness (His way of being and then doing) that we enter into Truth, and begin knowing the truth.  Only when we have Christ living in us does true learning and understanding actually occur.

Life, then, is not about garnering more facts, more information, and adapting accordingly, or leveraging it with our rapier-sharp intellect.  Rather, it is coming to know the One Who is eternal life, growing in Him and His character and having His overcoming life fill us abundantly, and sharing that.

In the final shakedown, we will either strive on our own to become better, or receive the One Who truly is better.  May it be said, “We did it His way.”

 

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